Audiobook for Kids: Rooftoppers

As a baby, Sophie is found floating in a cello case after a shipwreck and is taken in by the man who found her, eccentric Englishman Charles Maxim who uses books for plates and toast for bookmarks! Sophie and Charles live a quiet, happy life together until Sophie’s twelfth birthday, when the authorities decide that Charles is not a fit guardian. Rather than letting Sophie be taken to an orphanage, Sophie and Charles embark on a quest to find Sophie’s mother with the cello case as their only clue. The pair travels to Paris where Sophie meets the illusive rooftoppers who agree to help her with her search for her missing mother.

The audiobook of Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell has the feel of a classic with its gorgeous writing, gentle humor and determined young heroine, and narrator Nicola Barber gets the accents exactly right. The novel is also reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo with its adventures through the secret world of Paris.

Young People's Theater: The Wizard of Oz

Young People's Theater will present the classic story of The Wizard of Oz from May 16-18 at the University of Michigan Power Center. For ticket information, click here. Meanwhile, YPT also is organizing summer camps which you can learn about here.

Multicultural Chapter Books: The Alvin Ho Collection

Second-grader Alvin Ho loves playing the brave Firecracker Man at home but at school he is too afraid to say a word. In fact, Alvin is afraid of many things but faces fear after fear in the Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look. In the first book, Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things, Alvin worries about making friends at school. In its sequel Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters, Alvin and his family get ready for Alvin’s first camping trip. Not only are these books delightfully funny, but the situations are very relatable. The audiobook is a particular treat, narrated by child actor Everette Plen who brings a fantastic youthful energy to these stories.

I think my favorite thing about the Alvin Ho series,though, is their celebration of multiculturalism. Alvin’s close-knit Chinese-American family includes a father who spouts Shakespearean insults and a grandfather who sews, and Alvin’s growing friendship with classmate Flea offers a wonderful message about accepting friends who are different from us.

The series continues with Alvin Ho: Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-made Catastrophes; Alvin Ho: Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances; and Alvin Ho: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in The Night. More books in the series are also available as audiobooks.

Picturebook Picks: The Shape of My Heart

The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sherring is a delightful, colorful picturebook that is perfect for reading aloud. Sherring takes the readers on a journey to discover all of the wonderful, beautiful shapes that we see in our everyday life. From the shapes of our eyes to the sun, from the shapes of the zoo to our hearts, this is a heartwarming book that is perfect for engaging in seek-and-find - “Where is the duck?” - play. The illustrations, colorful and bright, are a collage of animals, shapes, and objects that children will immediately recognize. In addition, these amazing illustrations are brought to life with added sound effects, from chirps to squeaks! Children will fall in love with the high level of interaction this every-color-of-the-rainbow book has to offer.

Avatar, the Last Airbender

If you're looking for a fun TV show that appeals to both kids and adults, check out Avatar, the Last Airbender. This cartoon has a great plot that will keep you interested until the very end.

The wold is divided into four nations (Earth, Water, Fire, and Air). Each nation’s people are able to manipulate their specific element. This manipulation is called “bending” and each nation’s bending is based off of a specific martial art (for example, water bending is based on tai chi, and fire bending is based on Northern Shaolin). There is one person who is born with the ability to bend all of the elements called the “Avatar,” this person is also in charge of keeping peace between the nations. However, when the Fire Nation decides to attack, the Avatar disappears.

A hundred years later, the Fire nation is now on the verge of dominating the entire world. But two siblings from the water tribe, Katara and Sokka, have just found the missing Avatar, a twelve-year-old boy named Aang, and his flying bison frozen in an iceberg. But can Aang learn to master all four elements and restore peace in time?

While this cartoon is not technically considered anime, it is heavily influenced by anime in it’s character designs. The fighting sequences are incredibly entertaining to watch and there are plenty of humorous moments which makes this cartoon a hit with the young and not-so-young.

If you enjoy the TV show, you should also check out the books, graphic novels, or even The Last Airbender movie that was directed by M. Night Shyamalan (disclaimer, if you are a big fan of the cartoon, this movie may miss the mark).

U-M North Campus Bookstore is Hosting Monthly Story Hour

The University of Michigan North Campus Bookstore is hosting monthly story hours, having recently attracted 28 children for stories, crafts and coloring. The next one is coming up Friday May 9 at 2:30 pm with classics, treats and crafts relating to the books of Dr. Seuss. Summertime story hours are scheduled for June 6, July 11, and August 8, all at 2:30 pm. The bookstore is located in Pierpont Commons.

And the cars go…

Author and illustrator William Bee is one to bookmark if you have a little one into THINGS THAT GO.

First there was And The Train Goes… and the newest one is And the Cars Go…. Both are such cute picture books!

The books are chock-full of amazing illustrations with sounds to make and read along with. BRRRMMM BRRRMMM, HONK HONK, POP POP POP, BANG BANG HISSSSS. Little ones will enjoy sitting on your lap and checking out the pictures, signs and THINGS THAT GO!

For further fun, check out Trains Go and Trucks Go by Steve Light. Super amazing big board books.

Jumbled Fairytales for Young Readers

This is a darling series for beginning readers! There are several books in the series and they are all jumbled fairytales!

In Rapunzel and the Billy Goats you’ve got the troll climbing up Rapunzel’s hair. And in Cinderella and the Beanstalk you’ve got Jack driving Cinderella in the pumpkin-turned-stagecoach and her ugly stepsisters are climbing up the beanstalk!

They are funny and a great way to explore a variety of fairytales. It’s also fun for readers to figure out which parts of the story came from what fairytale. Check out these mixed-up titles:

Three Pigs and a Gingerbread Man
Beauty and the Pea
Goldilocks and the Wolf
The Elves and the Emperor
Hansel, Gretel, and the Ugly Duckling
Snow White and the Enormous Turnip

And for a quick list see here.

Socktastic stories!

This week Ms. Amanda featured stories about socks at preschool storytime! Socks?! Yep, socks. And we brought out Pete the Cat’s white shoes, too. We listened to some fun stories. Here are some titles to settle your socks into:

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? Duck cannot find them! Where are they? Does Fox know? A super fun rhyming story.

New Socks Author Bob Shea writes some funny picture books. The book features the coolest pair of orange socks that just might change your world.

Lizette’s Green Sock Here we have a duck that’s so excited about her green sock, until she learns that socks come in pairs and she gets made fun of.

Duck Sock Hop Who knows what will happen when ducks pull socks from a box. Duck sock hop comes once a week – get ready to rock with your sock!

Sally and the Purple Socks Sally gets a pair of fabulous purple socks in the mail. But when they get wet something odd starts to happen, and it’s quite a silly thing!

For more sock stories check out this book list.

Audiobook for Broadway Lovers: Better Nate Than Ever

Read by the author (who happens to have been on Broadway himself), Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle offers an insider’s look into the world of Broadway auditions from a kid’s point of view. Thirteen-year-old Nate Foster is tired of being bullied and misunderstood in his hometown so, with the help of his best friend Libby, this Broadway-musical lover concocts a plan to run away to New York City and audition for E.T the Musical (inspired by Steven Spielberg’s E.T., of course). The adventure that follows is both hilarious and heartbreaking, and the narration is spot on through every emotional twist and turn.

The audiobook was a 2014 Odyssey Award Honor, an award given to the best audiobooks for children and teens.

Its sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! is also available in print.

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